As we wade into the chaotic waters of December this year, my heart is a little unsettled. Part of it is that I already feel behind and we’re only three days in. But part of it is the kind of ‘unsettled’ that indicates a rattling around my conscience, soliciting change, or at the very least a careful examination of whether things are as they should be.
See, I love Christmas. I love giving gifts, love making and following family traditions, love Advent countdowns and Christmas carols and stockings… But the frantic pace (and overwhelming quantity of it all) seems to increase each year, with a corresponding increase to my unsettled feeling.
The thing is, it’s not even the kids’ hearts that need adjustments (though raising entitled kids is one of my primary worries as a parent). If I’m honest, it’s my heart that needs refocusing. If I want our family Christmas to be focused on Christ, then I need to prioritize celebrating the coming of our Savior in my own heart and actions.
So we’re rearranging the way we do Christmas a little… We’re still figuring out exactly how the changes will play out (I love the want-need-wear-read idea [though my kids ‘need’ section might be a little bare], the gold-frankincense-myrrh idea and love the heart of the Voskamp family as they give all their gifts away). But we are settled that we are aiming for less- less presents, less expensive, less crazy, less Santa, less presents (I already said that… but seriously, less presents).
And we’re also aspiring to more- more worship, more giving, more gratefulness.
Along these lines, we’ve started a new tradition- a ‘Birthday Gift for Jesus.’ During December, as we think of different things we can bring to our King as gifts (attitudes, kindnesses, tangible gifts to people who need them, etc.), we are writing them down and putting them in a special slotted box. On Christmas morning, we’ll open this present first. Hopefully it’ll be a way we can reorient our hearts this month, and also on Christmas before we open our much-smaller-this-year pile of gifts for each other, toward the true meaning of Christmas.
I’d love to hear the ways your family takes it down a notch for Christmas- do share!
ps- True confession, “Mama’s Attitude” is in there twice already (as previously noted, it’s only December 3rd).